Growing up through silence: instances of Transatlantic female constraint in Anita Desai's Fasting, Feasting
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Anita Desai's novel Anita Desai's novel Fasting, Feasting portrays transatlantic experiences of female constraint on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite the prevalent differences characterising the Indian and American societies, women from both countries undertake similar experiences of (in)voluntary silence in search of a voice of their own. In India, Uma, the eldest unmarried woman of a traditional Indian family, inculcates her duty to quieten her own voice while managing to use silence as a retaliating weapon to prompt her growth as a woman. In the hectic American society, where noise is so prevalent, Melanie, a bulimic young female in the land of plenty, feels the need of silence to hear her own voice in the midst of the surrounding hubbub. The interaction between words and silence in Desai's novel proves a metaphor for women's transatlantic growth in search of raising their voices over the deafening noise of America or the overwhelming silence of India, only broken by the constant voices of others.